People and Communities

We are here to help and want to talk to you about your ideas to support communities. You can apply for funding to deliver new or existing activity or to change and adapt to new and future challenges, including the current cost-of-living crisis.

If you have already submitted an application and are awaiting a decision from us, but you know that your proposed activities and budget will be impacted by the cost-of-living crisis contact us.

We still want to fund projects who:

  1. help people make changes to improve their lives
  2. help communities build on their strengths and share things they’ve learned.

And good applications will be Community Led, Strengths Based and Connected.

Contact us if you have an idea on 028 9055 1455 or at

Northern Ireland
Funding size
£20001 to £500000
Total available
£57 million
Application deadline



You can tell us about your ideas online

Start your proposal Continue your proposal

You can see a full list of questions we ask about your proposal.

It's worth noting this isn't an application form, this is a way for you to tell us your idea. We can send you an application form after we've talked to you.

If you don’t want to use our online form
Don't worry, you can still contact us by email, phone, or face-to-face, any time. The online form is just an extra way to get in touch.

If you have any communication needs
You can contact us if you have any communication support needs that make completing a form difficult or impossible for you. We’re happy to talk about alternative ways for you to tell us about your funding proposal.

If your project is for people between 8 and 25
If your project’s for young people, you’d be better applying for our Empowering Young People programme.

Here’s what happens after you tell us about your funding proposal:

  • We'll email you to let you know we got your proposal
  • Then we'll get in touch to talk about your proposal within 15 working days
  • We’ll give you some feedback and let you know if we think you should fill out an application or not. If we ask you to apply, we'll send you an application form
  • If we do ask you to fill in an application, you’ll normally get a final decision about whether we’re going to fund you or not within four months.

Here’s what happens if we ask you to fill in an application:

  1. You'll fill in the application. You’ll fill it in and send it back to us.
  2. We'll let you know we got it. We’ll send you an email, or letter, to let you know we got your application. And to tell you the name of your funding officer.
  3. You'll get a funding officer. Your funding officer will get in touch to ask some questions about your project. They’ll also arrange a face to face assessment visit with you.
  4. You'll meet your funding officer. You'll have the face to face assessment visit with your funding officer. They’ll want to know how your project fits with this funding programme, as well as the difference you’re looking to make, and how you’ll run the project.
  5. Your funding officer will write a report. After the visit, your funding officer will write up an assessment report. They might get in touch with you again to ask some questions before they write their report. The report will assess:
    • how you plan to run the project and how much it will cost
    • how well your project fits with what this funding programme is asking for
    • if your organisation has the skills, experience and resources it needs to run the project.
  6. We'll decide to fund you or not. Your funding officer will take your application to a decision meeting. As a group, we decide which projects get funding. This group will be made up of staff, or NI committee members. There are always lots of good applications, and we only have a certain amount of funding to give away. So making final funding decisions can be tough. It’s a competitive process.
  7. Your funding officer will let you know. If we decide to give you funding, your funding officer will let you know. They'll talk about next steps too. If we decide not to fund your project, your funding officer will get in touch with feedback (in case you want to apply again in future).

Reducing your environmental impact  

We all have a responsibility to protect the environment for future generations. This includes the communities and projects we support. 

We’ll expect all applicant organisations to consider their environmental impact and to have relevant policies and procedures in place.

Find out more about the environment considerations you could take on board when developing your project idea on The projects we fund page.

You can also access some links to local guidance on the Reduce your environmental footprint page.

Here’s what happens after we give you the funding

Once you’ve been awarded over £20,000 of funding from us, here’s what to expect. This page will also let you know about the things you need to do too.

The projects we fund

The projects we fund

We fund projects that work to make positive changes in their community – whether that’s a community living in the same area, or people with similar interests or life experiences.

We're looking for projects that:

  1. help people make changes to improve their lives
  2. help communities build on their strengths and share things they’ve learned.

We can also support you to change and adapt to new and future challenges, including the current cost-of-living crisis.

A good application should be:


We believe that people understand what's needed in their communities better than anyone. So it’s important to us that you involve your community in the design, development and delivery of the activities you’re planning.

You might want to ask yourself:

  • Have I spoken to the people in my community?
  • Have the people in my community told me what they need and what’s important to them?
  • Have I listened to them and used what they’ve said to create my project?


We’d like to support people and communities to build on the knowledge, skills and experience they already have, to make the changes they want.

You might want to ask yourself:

  • What’s already working in my community?
  • How will my project add to these positive things that are already working?
  • How will my project make the most of any resources that are already helping my community?


We want to know that you’ve a good understanding of other activities and services in your community. We’d like to see how you’ll compliment these. So you can add value to what’s already there.

You might want to ask yourself:

  • Have I spoken to other groups in the area that are doing something similar to my project?
  • Have I thought about how we can all help each other?

Extra guidance that might be useful

Land and Buildings guidance (PDF 3MB)

We do checks on the information you give us. As an organisation that gives out public funds, we carry out some checks on the information you give to us.

Learn more about our checks.

Environmental Impact

We encourage and support all projects and communities to consider their environmental impact when designing their projects.

For example, if your project requires a vehicle to help support your community, we expect you to have considered whether an electric or hybrid option is a viable alternative to petrol or diesel. Electric or hybrid vehicles will help reduce your projects carbon footprint, but it can also save you money on fuel, tax, and servicing.

If your project involves a building we expect you to consider how you can reduce its environmental impact and therefore its running costs.

This could include:

  • Choosing to use more sustainable, environmentally friendly or recycled materials as much as possible
  • Conserving water by ‘harvesting’ rainwater (it is free after all) with water butts or reusing ‘grey’ water (the water from sinks, showers, washing machines, etc.) to flush toilets
  • Reducing the amount of energy your building needs by installing energy efficient lighting and low energy appliances. Or even consider generating your own energy by installing solar panels
  • Reducing the amount of heat your building making sure your building is a well-insulated as possible or consider more efficient alternatives to oil or gas such as infra-red heating, heat pumps or biomass boilers
  • Consider what will happen to all the waste that will be generated from your building project and commit to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as possible.
What you can spend the money on

What can you spend the money on?

This list doesn't include everything. So, if you're not sure, contact us

We can fund:

  • staff salaries
  • training
  • volunteer expenses
  • equipment
  • premises costs
  • evaluation
  • overheads.

We cannot fund:

  • any activities or items you spend money on before we give you a final decision about your application
  • activities outside of the UK
  • fundraising activities
  • second-hand vehicles.

For COVID-19 related ideas, we encourage you to think about any costs needed to help you and your community through the current crisis. As well as the costs to deliver your activity, this might include:

  • contribution to overheads, investment in your systems, people and infrastructure, dedicated capacity development